Temporary Enforcement: Confined Spaces in Residential Construction

Construction Confined Spaces

The Confined Spaces Construction Standard took steps to bring those employers in the construction industry closer to those in general industry and manufacturing in terms of safety. Announced May 4, 2015; the Confined Spaces for Construction Standard went into effect August 3, 2015.

With a temporary enforcement policy for all construction employers ending on October 2, 2015, a new temporary enforcement policy has gone into place for those employers in the residential construction industry extending to January 8, 2016.

***Please Note*** Residential Construction, as defined by OSHA STD 03-11-02 Section VIII, is defined to cover the building of “structures where the working environment, and the construction materials, methods, and procedures employed [we]re essentially the same as those used for typical house (single-family dwelling) and townhouse construction.”

So, for those in charge of single-family homes, duplexes, and townhomes, this applies to you. For those leading construction of multi-family dwellings or high rises, the confined spaces standard took effect on October 2, 2015.

Temporary Enforcement Policy Memo Issued October 1, 2015

(From OSHA Memorandum) This memorandum provides guidance on the enforcement of the Confined Spaces in Construction standard […] residential construction work. The new standard […] August 3, 2015. A temporary enforcement […] October 2, 2015. OSHA now further extends this temporary enforcement policy through January 8, 2016, only for employers engaged in residential construction work.

Before January 8, 2016, OSHA will not issue citations under the Confined Spaces in Construction standard to an employer:

  • If the employer is making good faith efforts to comply with the standard
  • As long as the employer is in compliance with either:

What Constitutes Good Faith Efforts under Temporary Enforcement Policy?

Employers who fail to train their employees consistent with either 29 CFR 1926.1207 or CFR 1926.21(b)(6)(i) would properly be cited for violation of-1926.1207. Factors OSHA will consider when evaluating whether an employer is engaged in good faith efforts to comply with the new standard include:

  • If the employer has not trained its employees as required under the new standard, whether the employer has scheduled such training,
  • If the employer does not have the equipment required for compliance with the new standard, including personal protective equipment, whether the employer has ordered or otherwise arranged to obtain such equipment required for compliance and is taking alternative measures to protect employees from confined space hazards, and
  • Whether the employer has engaged in any additional efforts to educate workers about confined space hazards and protect workers from those hazards.

Preparing for January 8, 2016: Residential Construction Employers

As you prepare for the January enforcement deadline you will need to ensure the training is completed, the equipment is present, and the education is finished.

For more information, see our recent blog on Confined Spaces in Construction, the OSHA FAQ section on the topic, and our webcast on Implementing the New Confined Space Standard For Construction.

Learn more at our Confined Spaces Page, and Contact us today to ensure you’re ready.



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